Human Resources Basics
- Revision Creates Vision

Human Resources Basics is an important matter in Human Resource management. Organizations cannot afford to neglect or ignore it in their HR strategic plan.

Strategic planning is vital to the implementation of human resource management.

As the Human Resource Manager or as an HR professional, are you being overwhelmed by too many things in carrying out the day-to-day activities that the important task of effectively managing people is being sidelined? Are you losing focus?

Or as a line manager, you are not very sure whether human resource management should concern you at all.

What must you do?

First, identify your organization's core business and the main objectives of your business undertaking.

Gather the relevant information from your organizational business plan and other relevant plans.

After that, evaluate whether you have the right human resources in terms of number, qualifications, knowledge, skills, and personalities.

Inventory of skills and talents helps you in formulating an effective plan on matters such as new employees required, employee redeployment, and determination of the right type of knowledge needs and skills training.

Human Resource Audit

Conduct a human resource audit organization-wide. This is an important human resource activity, being one of the Human Resource basics that needs attention. Do this at least once a year.

By doing this you have some idea on the present position of your organization. By conducting the audit, you can identify short and long-term priorities in human resource management in response to the needs of your organization.

You then can make plans to put your human resource function in alignment with your organization's strategic plan.

An organization's strategic plan is intended to achieve its business objectives.

Employee Morale

Improvement of employee morale is another concern of Human Resources basics.

Treat your employees fairly and with respect. Treat them as individuals who have their particular needs and aspiration. Make this as part of your organizational culture.

Help your people to achieve the objectives of their respective job using proven HR methods. They will feel more valuable. This improves their morale and makes them more productive.

Fast changing economic conditions, higher expectations by relevant parties or stakeholders, and organizational changes create stressful conditions. Such a situation affects the performance of people.

People in positions of authority have a responsibility to maintain and improve employee morale. It has often been said that as corporate leaders, they must "walk the talk" , not talk the talk only.

Clearly communicate to people what they are required to do. Tell them in no uncertain terms how they fit into the plans of the organization. This sends a message that they are valuable to their organization.

Identify the presence of demoralized employees in your organization.
There are events that indications that all is not well. These include:

  • There are employees who give negative views of your organization to others, including clients and customers.
  • You notice that some employees regularly absent themselves, or are consistently late for meetings and appointments.
  • They take longer "lunch breaks".
  • New employees quickly become lethargic. Existing employees try to influence them to toe the line in back-stabbing the organization.
  • Negative attitude of some employees, who often say that they cannot do anything about problems that require their attention.
  • You notice that some employees refuse to cooperate with other employees, without any apparent reason.
  • You hear news that certain employees are doing some other job part-time.

When you notice any of these, or come to know about them, verify and find out why these are happening. Take necessary and concrete actions promptly to maintain and improve the morale of employees.

Give counseling. Conduct coaching sessions.

Entrust them with more responsibility, and make their jobs more challenging.

Empowerment improves employee morale and their performance.

Implement job rotation and job enrichment. Exercise care when doing this.

Effective Employee Communication

Another concern of Human Resources basics is that as the HR Manager, HR professional, or line manager, you need to ensure effective flow of communication throughout the organization.

Talk to your employees, individually and in groups about matters that concern everyone as wellas the organization.

Employees need to understand what is happening in the organization, and outside the organization.

Even in the worst case scenario, they must have at least the minimum information to help them perform up to standard.

Ensure that employees have access to up-to-date information about the organization, changes in their job, and organizational plans. Accurate information helps employee learn how to make better decisions.

This also helps them handle changes more readily.

One channel of communication with employees is by way of a properly-designed organizational chart. This helps them to see the overall picture of the organization. Use it to facilitate effective flow of information.

The chart will also show the line of authority, clearly showing employees "who reports to whom". And where they fit in.

Allow them to make plans in terms of manageable "projects" in relation to their respective tasks. Build in "work flow" processes around the projects with approval mechanism. This improves their performance on the job. This promotes ownership of the job among employees.

Provide feedback to employees on the level of their performance and what they need to improve.

Always provide positive feedback first. Do not dwell on the negative ones or give undue weight to them. But make them as the starting points of performance improvement plans.

If you encounter any conflict, do not consider it as bad in itself. This presents an opportunity for personal growth for both supervisors and staff.

Give due recognition to employees who have performed well by providing them the right incentives as rewards. This affirms productive behaviors.

Systems and Processes

Exercise fairness when drawing up the organizational policies and procedures. Reflect this in organizational systems and procedures.

This includes a fair compensation and benefits system. You will want these to have the desired motivational effects.

Make attempts to draw up a better system by taking into consideration motivational theories such as the "Hierarchy of Needs" by Abraham Maslow.

Ensure that your payroll procedures are in line with industry standards. This indicates to your employees that your organization is fair. They will spend their time and energy doing their jobs instead of engaging in negative pursuits.

Clearly explain every processes and procedures. This helps your people understand what are expected of them, and to take the necessary actions.

Ability in drawing up good policies and procedures is one of the Human Resources basics required of managers and executives.

The workplace environment affects performance. Do something to improve it.

Employing the Right Technology

Technology, if properly chosen and utilized helps to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

Choose the most practical applications of technology that can further your organization's ability to meet your corporate goals.

This includes the implementation of a comprehensive Human Resources Information System. Choose the technology that can fulfill your needs.

Do not just implement any system. This is not a cost-effective way of making use of technology.

At this time of rapid technological development and advancement, making the right choice is one of the requirements of Human Resources basics needing your timely attention.

Always try to determine whether technology can help you to improve people management based on the requirement of your organization.

By updating your knowledge on new technological development and its impacts, you are looking into another essential area of Human Resources basics. This can help in your organization's drive towards success.

Human Resources Basics for Non-HR Professionals

Even if you are a non-HR professional, understanding and knowing the human resources basics in people management will help tremendously. You have people reporting to you on a daily basis.

Prevailing economic conditions require today’s line managers and supervisors to understand key human resource skills and to acquire skills relevant to their respective job.

Such skills coupled with a working knowledge of the most important regulations governing employment relationships will help you manage people better.

Line managers and supervisors need the necessary skills to perform certain requirements of Human Resources basics.

  • Decision making skill in hiring matters
  • Determining staffing needs and preparation for job interviews
  • Addressing employee performance problems
  • Performance appraisal technique
  • Counseling and coaching skills

Improving your skills in these areas will go a long way towards achieving departmental or sectional objectives.

Revision Creates A Vision

Revising and enhancing your knowledge on human resources basics help to refocus your attention on the importance of manageing people more effectively.

It does not matter whether you are a Human Resource Manager, an HR professional, a line manager, or a supervisor. Knowledge and skills in human resource management is a must.

People are your most important asset. People are the ones who help achieve your organizational strategic plans.

You can achieve this by ensuring that the strategic plans of your own section or department are achieved.

And always go back to human resources basics every time you need to do so.

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